What seminarians are learning at SWBTS…

If you ask Paige Patterson, Van McClain, David Allen, or a host of the other leaders influencing the vision and ministry of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, you’ll discover that these seminary leaders believe a theological education should model local church ministry for future pastors.

At least that’s the reason we’ve been given for why women shouldn’t teach men in the School of Theology.

Well, we at Baptist Blogger thought it would be fun to put Patterson’s philosophy of seminary education to a test by asking this question:

What are Southwestern Seminary students learning about the size of their parsonages when they get to the church field? Or more specifically, how does Paige Patterson’s 8,757 Sq.Ft home — valued at $936,675.00 — stack up against the pastors of major churches in the State of Texas? Keep in mind that Patterson’s “church” has a little under 2000 members.

So what have we discovered about the example Paige Patterson is setting for future pastors?

Lets allow the numbers to speak for themselves:

Prestonwood Baptist Church
Jack Graham, Pastor
3116 Seneca Dr. Frisco, TX
4271 Sq.Ft. 4bd, 3.5ba.

Park Cities Baptist Church
Jim Denison, Pastor
7322 Marquette Dr. Dallas, TX.
3513 Sq. Ft. 4bd 3.5ba.

First Baptist Church, Euless, TX
John Meador, Pastor
2902 Glen Dale Dr. Colleyville, TX
3690 Sq.Ft 4bd 3ba

First Baptist Arlington
Dennis Wiles, Pastor
903 Portofino Dr. Arlington, TX
3706 Sq.Ft. 5bd 3.5ba.

Birchman Baptist Church
Robert Pearle, Pastor
11816 Blue Creek Dr.
Aledo, TX 76008
3008 Sq.Ft. 4bd 3ba.

First Baptist Houston
Greg Matte, Pastor
1213 Pine Chase, Houston, TX
3135 Sq.Ft. 5bd 2.5ba

Second Baptist Church of Houston
H. Edwin Young, Pastor
10909 Melody Ln. Houston, TX
7652 Sq.Ft. 5bd 4.5ba

Great Hills Baptist Church of Austin
Michael Lewis, Pastor
15508 Bandon Dr. Austin, TX
3558 Sq.Ft. –bd. 4.5ba.

Hyde Park Baptist Church of Austin
Kie Bowman, Pastor
8308 Jancy Dr. Austin TX
3763 Sq. Ft.

Then we decided to compare Patterson’s home with that of other SBC leaders residing in Texas:

Guidestone Financial Resouces
O.S. Hawkins, President
5759 Wortham Lane, Dallas, TX
4105 Sq. Ft. 3bd 3ba.

Former Lifeway President
James T. Draper
7300 John McCain Rd. Colleyville, TX
6203 Sq. Ft. 4bd 4ba.

Hon. H. Paul Pressler, II
5118 Holly Terrace Ct. Houston, TX
5759 Sq. Ft. 4bd 5.5ba.

And just for fun, we looked up:

Rev. John Hagee
Cornerstone Church of San Antonio
8 Sherborne Lane, San Antonio, TX
5275 Sq.Ft. 6bd 4.5ba.

Fmr President George H.W. Bush
6263 Sq. Ft.

Fmr. Secretary of State James Baker
5304 Sq. Ft.

When you put all of that together, you learn that Paige and Dorothy Patterson require:

4,724 square feet more than the average home of the largest church pastors in the State of Texas.

3,401 square feet more than the average home of the most prominent SBC leaders in the State of Texas.

2,494 square feet more than the home of a former President of the United States.

3,453 square feet more than the home of a former Secretary of State of the United States.

Of course, I suppose that none of these men ever use their homes for ministry purposes. I mean, how could they? Such ridiculously diminutive domiciles are inadequate to accomplish the ministry objectives assigned to them. And how on earth do Barbara Bush and Susan Baker find space in those tiny townhomes to entertain all the world leaders who visit their homes annually?

It looks like Southwestern Seminary students are getting a valuable lesson in ministry priorities and biblical stewardship after all. Thank God for the excellent leadership and model hospitality of Paige and Dorothy Patterson. Yes, thank God.

(Disclaimer: We have not provided links to Former President Bush’s or Secretary Baker’s home addresses for obvious reasons of national security.)

20 thoughts on “What seminarians are learning at SWBTS…

  1. If the servants to the servants to the servants (senior pastors serving their teams–associate staff members–who serve their congregations, who serve their communities–at least, that’s how NAMB teaches it in “Building Powerful Ministry Teams”) are living in houses like this at values like those, what are the servants living in?! I can’t wait to see.

    Our SWBTS 1000 sq.ft. 2-bedroom/1-bathroom duplex with no front or back screen doors or ceiling fans was 75 steps from the railroad tracks it faced. My wife and I learned to recognize the types of trains passing–including in the middle of the night–without even seeing them (couldn’t hear it until it was at the porch: Amtrak passing fast; heard it rumbling from ‘way off: coal train moving slow).

  2. Ben,

    While you are busy waxing eloquent to Paige Patterson and SWBTS leaders concerning biblical stewardship, you might want to consider what kind of stewardship your personal vendetta against Patterson is…seriously, you don’t have anything better to do at your church than look up the square footage and prices of these leaders’ houses? Your blog is probably a poorer testimony of intellectual stewardship and definitely a negative example for churches everywhere as to why they don’t send their kids to seminary. Bitterness is a spiritual dead end bro – how about forgiving the guy and moving on? Let’s move on to greater kingdom works. Just a thought at this late hour.

  3. Mr. Shields:

    1. You assume that I looked those figures up. Your assumption is incorrect.

    2. I’m not sure I carry the blame for the decreased enrollment at Southwestern Seminary, but if you say so.

    3. Is Patterson in need of forgiveness? Has he sinned?


  4. BSC, I believe the most intriguing part of your rant against Patterson is your logic. The SWBTS president and board of trustees have chosen to consider the position professor of theology as spot more wisely filled by men. As a response, you list the prices of the homes of many godly men, who have accomplished through the grace of Christ, more kingdom work than you or I could ever dream of. What kind of logic is this? You don’t respond to the issue. Wow. At least intelligently respond to the issue at hand. Another question: Did you ask those men if you could post the figures about their homes? What happened to Matthew 18? If you think they are unwise stewards, shouldn’t you go straight to them instead of blasting them all over the internet?

  5. Brandon:

    Implicit in your comment is the thought that Rev. Cole is neglecting his local church duties in spending whatever time he spends on other pursuits such as blogging. I suggest that is not the case, based on (a) my personal acquaintance with Rev. Cole, (b) what I hear from among Parkview’s membership, and (c) what I similarly hear from people who have known him for many years.

    Ben: The picture linked above are the SEBTS home. I was actually referring to the home in Ft. Worth. Were modifications made to that home, too?

  6. dschadt:

    First, I do not think any man is “sinning” because of the size of his home. In fact, I believe that most of these men have rather modest homes considering the areas where they must live in order to minister to the community around their churches. A 4000 sqft home in Park Cities, for instance, will cost more than a 4000 sq.ft. home in Aledo. Any moron can understand the discrepancies in market value.

    And regarding the publication of these home addresses. All of that information is available on the internet already. There is no secrecy here, and no breach of confidentiality. No permission is necessary to retrieve public records.

    Or maybe you didn’t know that?

    And if you’re wondering about my response to the Klouda situation, you will find that I have written quite extensively on this issue, both on the internet and in North Texas newspapers. In writing, my friend, there is certain degree of creativity, style, and interest. The reference to Klouda was a hook into my blog. Writing like this is both readable and enjoyable, which might explain why you keep coming back to my blog.

    And I’m not suggesting at all that these men haven’t accomplished much for the kingdom. In fact, I think Paige Patterson has done much for the Kingdom.

    I, on the other hand, have done very little. My Lord shall render his judgment accordingly.

    One thing is for sure, however. When the day of judgment arrives and the Lord tests the house of Paige Patterson by fire, he’s not going to find much wood, hay, and stubble in 1901 Boyce Ave. I’m quite confident there will be a load of gold, silver, and precious stones.

    Now does that answer your questions? Good grief.


  7. Guys:

    1. I am glad you did not take the time to look that up – whew!

    2. Think what you want about your site (which is inflammatory brain candy for you and your buddies), but I cannot find much that is edifying or worthy of a pastor (cf. 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1; etc. on kindness, gentleness, not a brawler, good reputation) on here. As a pastor, is your blog representative of the kind of church members you want to produces? As an outsider in another environment not SWBTS, I can tell you that your blog leaves a bad taste in most people’s mouths and is not really taken as seriously as you think. In fact, as I train pastors in my context, I point to it as an example of a clanging gong that is simply annoying and unhelpful. I think you would have a far better readership and influence if you spent just one month highlighting the great ministries men like Paige Patterson have had through their lifetime…it’s unlikely you would even be at SWBTS without men like him.

    3. I was referring to more of a personal psychological forgiveness – I think it will make you a better Christian and pastor to let it go.

  8. Bob –

    You are correct. Parkview’s sheep are well tended by undershepherd Ben Cole. We have no fear of neglect, though a few do seem to worry a lot about this on our behalf. Yet they need not fret so.

    I’m not just talking about hospital visits, or ministering to the widows and shut ins. Just recently I missed church on a Wednesday night, and Pastor Ben contacted me while he was out of town to find out if I was okay. Parkview is one of the few churches I have attended where the pastor not only watches over the few sheep that stray more often than not, but is also diligent to minister to those who are regular and active participants in the life of the church.

  9. Those same seminarians who graduate to serve overseas with the IMB can count on 1600 sq ft–if they are lucky. That is IMB policy. City M’s will get much less.

  10. I would urge you to make peace with this man as well. I know that you have indicated your motivation and intentions to stop him at all costs, but I believe this will be perilous to you, your flock, and many others involved. I would offer that, although much of the information is public knowledge (though surely not all) it would be wise to refrain from posting this type of information on the internet for public perusal, due to the propensity for gossip and slander that may hinder the work of any of these pastors. It is hard to see what good may be derived out of this type of approach, and it may be better to err on the side of caution regarding pastors like yourself.

    On that note, I am sure you are intimately aware of the elder qualifications Paul lays out in 1 Timothy. I would exhort you to make great pains to avoid being quarrelsome, as it disqualifies you from the pastorate. Further, I think it would be a stretch to offer this blog as unquarrelsome, or as not sewing discord. Should you not be swayed, I would urge you to step out of the pastorate until your “mission” is completed for the sake of the church and the unity of the brethren involved in these affairs.

  11. Colin:

    Thanks. I’ll consider resigning…

    And I have to confess that I’m not quite sure how to sew discord. Does it require a needle and thread? I’m sure SWBTS will be offering classes of this sort under the homemakers degree tract.

    P.S. — Our church is quite unified.


  12. Ben,

    Your church’s state is encouraging. However, they hardly constitute everyone involved.

    You can sew like you sow. I suppose sewing could be viewed as stitching small retorts together to lift yourself above another- maybe like pointing out misspellings, typos, etc. I am quite certain I will not have to explain sowing, however.

    Quarrelsome would be an issue, unless, of course, you want to retract your admission for being so. I am just suggesting there may exist precedent in the Bible for taking certain actions prior to judging rightly, and I don’t know that those prerequisites entail simply possessing proof. For what its worth…

  13. Perhaps urging resignation is a bit too strong. I, however, would encourage you to give serious consideration your actions in regards to consequences, even those unintended.

  14. Why shouldn’t Baptists be aware of the value of the homes that our executive employees occupy, particularly when that home is provided as part of the salary package they receive at the expense of the Cooperative Program dollars we provide? I think we should be aware of the salaries as well. And we ought to be able to express an opinion about it, especially those of us who serve in congregational leadership, because we are encouraging our fellow church members to contribute a portion of their sacrificially given tithes and offerings to it. I don’t see anything here that is out of line, or quarrelsome, or gossip or slander. A small deviation from my regular route to the church office each day would take me right by Greg Matte’s, Judge Pressler’s and former President Bush’s houses, and I’m not tempted to gossip or slander any of them. Every student who attends Southwestern can easily see the President’s residence.

    Troubles, I think my wife and I must have lived in that same apartment, or one close to it. The first few nights we stayed there, I thought the train was going to run right through the apartment.

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